My Heritage

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Jennifer Kay Lewis

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, are children born in one’s youth.
  Psalm 127:3-5

My Father came from a family of twelve active and busy children; and Mom was reared under gentle, yet firm-hands guiding eleven inquisitive kids!   (Daddy always jokes they had 2-umpires, nine-baseball players, (all boys) and 3-cheer-leaders.)

Grandpa Lewis and his nine boys performed their daily chores and labored every day into evening on their large dairy cattle farm.  Besides their massive herd of cattle, they raised many pigs, sheep, chickens, and maintained an abundant and fruitful garden.

My Grandpa Lewis left this earth before I was born.  Stories I have heard of my  G’ pa Lewis was that he was a very hard-worker, devoted to providing for his wife and twelve kids, and a very passionate man.

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However, I clearly remember spending many fun-filled days and over-night stays with my Grandma, Mary Jane.  Grandma valued church and sought to instill those Christian morals in her thirty-six grandchildren.  She used to walk around in her home humming and singing the old-fashioned hymns that are beloved by so many.

Dad’s mom ‘welcomed’ many folks to her table to share her mouth-watering home-cooking.  (back then, men that were transient workers offered their skills to make ‘repairs’ or finish some small ‘fix-it’ jobs.)  Most likely, these men would inquire of the locals as to “where they might get a good meal?”  Well, Grandma’s warm hospitality would answer their hungry call!

As for Mom, her Dad, my Grandpa Harry always put-out the largest garden that I have seen to this day.   (remember, Grandpa and Grandma had eleven kids to feed.)  

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”  Isaiah 40:8

I recall that as soon as the onions were picked, Grandpa was replanting that area with some kind of brilliant annual flowers.   The once empty rows or ‘hills’ were replanted with some colorful annual flower.  Thus, G’ pa’s signature gardens always remained a dazzling montage of vibrant hues well into the fall.

(I remember once when I was a teenager, I asked my Grandma, “why did you have so many children?”  Her blushed, red-face, sheepish reply was, “well, Harry couldn’t help it!”   Just from the extreme RED of her face, I figured that I best not ask any further curious questions.)

Mom’s parents, became my Mom and Dad’s built-in baby-sitters.  Mom worked as an RN in pediatric nursing helping to deliver babies.  (since Mom’s mother, Virginia had raised her own eleven, I figure it was pretty-much a ‘no-brainer’ that Grandma could care for us four until Mom’s shift would mature.)

May I share this indelible, memory of my Grandpa Harry?  When one of us kids got into something, or did something ‘unapproved,’ we found ourselves beholding to G ’pa.

He used a bit of psychology in having the ‘culprit’ kid climb up one of his willows or maple trees to get a specific branch he spotted  so he could ‘whittle’ the branch into the shape of a ‘whip.’  Then, he could  inflict  his corporal punishment.   (Grandpa Harry was often seen sitting on his front-porch whittling the time away.)   (it must have been some sort of quiet therapy?!)

Anyway, we followed his grim command and came back to him meekly crying.  (just getting that branch was ALL the ‘punishment’ we needed!)  He never had to touch us – just the idea was torment enough!  Grandpa only held an eight-grade diploma.  But his wisdom was well-beyond any college degree.

And as Paul Harvey used to say, “and now you know the rest of the story.”

Growing In Christ,

Jen

LEGACY

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by Jennifer Kay Lewis

LEGACY

“He cuts-off every branch in me that bears no fruit, While he prunes every Branch That Does Bear Fruit So That Will Become even more Fruitful.”          John  15:2

What Legacy do you want to leave?  Once in a while in the course of our ‘normal’ busy lives, we need to STOP to consider what we stand for and what we are giving back to society.   Today, I am taking time to reflect on the meaning of my life and I am asking you to Please do the same.

Several years ago, I found myself surrounded by confused, apprehensive, yet smiling little faces.  I had chosen to pursue the ever-changing world of Foster parenting.    At first, I thought this venture would be like a sort of hand-up and a help to the many children I came to adore.  However, the blessings I first thought would be theirs to cherish became mine to hold and keep forever!

Jesus reminds us in John 12-13: “Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no One than this, that he lay down his life for his Friends.”

Usually, when a person reflects on these words, one might conjure-up some image of a warrior gallantly fighting in some horrific battle-zone, or hearing about some average, run-of-the-mill Joe rushing-in to save another person’s life just in the nick-of-time.  Those were the stereotypical thoughts that first came to my mind, until I had the pleasure of hosting my thirty-one Foster children.

As my aging father, has recently reminded me, “Jen, in the end, it’s what you give away that truly matters.”

Deep in reflective thought, I analyzed Daddy’s meaningful words.  I also allowed my memory antennae to wander back to those exhilarating, happy days we shared in Foster care.  In doing so, I quickly surmised that it is no wonder why the memories of those eventful years provided so much warmth and even tears of joy to this day!  It is also an important part of Jesus’s command to “love each other as I have loved you” ~ I had done just that in giving unconditional love and supportive nurturing to those precious, children.

If your ‘passion’ is working with our youth, you may be well-gratified working within your church.  Do you enjoy assisting another person?   You might think about a rewarding unpaid assistant position with your local hospital.   Maybe you would rather offer your specific skills to a growing business.

Again, it’s all about Giving!  (it’s kind of like a boom-a-rang ~ good things just seem to keep coming back your way when you forego self and think of another.)    When we find our niche ~ we find ourselves and live for others.

      “Let me be Satisfied with your Favor and filled with your Blessing.”                                                                                          Deuteronomy 33:23

       “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”                                                                                                                     Romans 12:10

What are your values?  What are you teaching your Children? How you live each day will determine what you really want remembered about your days on this earth. Is your Legacy worth dying for?

Growing In Christ,

Jennifer

“THE ELDERLY GENTLEMAN”

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by Jennifer Kay Lewis

7-4-2016 ~ The Elderly Gentleman

Several months ago, I was most blessed and fortunate to secure a volunteer position with a large local hospital.

Recently, I was enjoying regular daily events as duties were fairly ‘routine’, that is for most of the day.  Then, an elderly man came up to our station.

In a few short-minutes, my ‘routine duties’ were unpredictably changed; and, little did I know just how welcome the change was to become.  A tall, thin, elderly gentleman seemed barely able to walk over to our work area.  He asked, “can anyone help me to my car?

“I think maybe I need a wheel-chair!”

I quickly volunteered to help the older gentleman, as waves of compassion quickly flooded my tender heart.  (it was plainly obvious he needed me; and as it ended, I needed him too!)

He said, “I think I can make it to that chair over there. (I wondered ~ in his dignified manner, was he trying to maintain his ‘pride’?)

I helped him get safely seated and off we strolled to the parking garage.  He informed me, “it’s a quite a piece down there little lady … are you sure you want to do this?”  I assured him, “it’s no trouble and that he shouldn’t think twice about my ‘choice’ to help him as I was most Happy to assist.”

We had gone about half of the distance through the long, concrete, parking garage, and he INSISTED he could probably “make it the rest of the way.”  (silently, to myself, I was thankful it was an inside, covered garage.)

Then, he exclaimed, “there it is ~ it’s that old white truck with the blue tailgate!”

For his safety, I maneuvered the wheelchair right up to his door so all he would need do was to stand and scoot himself into his truck.  He lifted himself up and got in his vehicle.

As I turned to quietly walk away, he said, “I KNOW this wasn’t in your job description … so I’m certain you didn’t need to do this; but, I just want to say, “GOD BLESS YOU LITTLE LADY!”

He had tears welling-up in his eyes as I left to go back to my station.  (me too)

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In purposely “offering” to do this assignment, I had visions of my own elderly Father, of eighty-seven.  I sure hope and pray someone would come to Daddy’s aid if and when he might also need the support and assistance.

Although it was “quite a piece” as he put it – our walk that day, was the best, longest walk I have ever enjoyed!

Growing In Christ,

Jennifer

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

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Jennifer Kay Lewis

 

The most important lesson Christ left for us to shadow and reflect is his ‘Perfect’ Love.  Love each other as Jesus commanded.  Do you want your little ‘corner’ of the  block to be at peace?  What can you do to improve relations with your family and friends?

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A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”.  John 13:34-35 New King James Version 

 

Imagine a world where we actually knew our next-door neighbor.  What if we went-one further and actually helped our neighbor.  Wouldn’t it awesome if  everybody spoke to one-another in earnest love expressing compassion and care?

Doesn’t it seem all to surreal?  But what can you do, right?  Isn’t this what you are thinking?

Could you be a friend just like the kind friend you want to meet?


BE THE ANSWER

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Jennifer Kay Lewis

BE THE ANSWER

5-30-2016

 

Time is just t-o-o unpredictable! Things happen ~ and Life, as we SHOULD HAVE KNOWN IT can be snuffed-out in a second!! Should you nurture and hold tight to your grudges? Or, should you humble yourself and ask God to help you FORGIVE? It’s YOUR ‘CHOICE!!!’

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     Image by:  Christina Van den Bossche  ·

 My Prayer:
“Lord, help me!  Lead me in my Life so I can become more and more like you.”  “Let your Bright-light shine through me so I can be used as your vessel.”   “God teach me to truly submit myself and get on my knees in Obedience and devotion to your wise instruction(s) .”
Fill me up Lord!!”
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Growing In Christ,
Jen Lewis

“What Goes Around … Comes Around”

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Jennifer Kay Lewis

WHAT GOES AROUND … COMES AROUND

 

In January 2013, I wrote the following letter to my former employers and the owners of a small chiropractic business.  From 2001-2002, while I was going through a very deep, dark valley in my life, they helped guide me to see the that the top of the mountain was within my reach.  My heartfelt letter was  offered in simple gratitude.

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1/4/2013

Dearest Dr. M. and Barb,

It was December 24, 2012 when I needed to come and see Dr. M.      (earlier in the month I had fallen-off a ladder and as he ‘examined’ me, he decided an X-ray was in order and he made another follow-up appointment for Monday, Jan, 7th,  2013.)

On January 6th, Linda called me to ‘inform’ me Dr. Miller had passed.  (she said it had been in paper, but I explained “I do not get the local paper  – so I didn’t know.  (NEEDLESS TO SAY, I was in ‘shock.’)

(I’ve Always been ‘encouraged’ w/ Dr. Miller’s knowledge and desire to ‘keep current’ w/ changing medical knowledge/treatment(s).  In short- I KNEW I could ‘Trust’ Him and felt he truly cared about me as a patient, and from a closer ‘personal’ perspective because I had worked with Both of you.

Seeing Dr. Miller again, prompted me to want to write a letter I hoped he would be able to read.  But, as ‘unknown’ crucial time would unravel itself, that never happened soon enough.  Yet, after much ‘reflective’ thought and Prayer, I still hope somehow this letter will help you ‘cope’ in knowing you TWO touched my life when I Really NEEDED some compassion and loving guidance.

During a most ‘traumatic’ year for me, you Both nurtured me like a ‘child’ with a ‘broken leg.’  My Heart was Severely Broken and Shattered into Ragged Pieces and YOU Both were there to help me mend.

Never once did you give-up on me.  Looking back, now I see how ‘difficult’ I must have made things for you guys.  (my life was a real ‘mess’ and I honestly don’t know how you dealt w/ it.  But, God led you to ‘take care of me and ‘guide me’ back into the world.  As you so eloquently put it Barb, “as I was ready to ‘fly”, you two let go.  God ‘Bless You for taking me into your World and for patiently waiting while I was trying to put things back together.

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Image by:  Ian Britian

As you’ll easily remember – I was living in a constant ‘emotional turmoil.’  (as my life kept crumbling in chaos and was falling apart in shattered upheaval.  Still, you and Dr. Miller remained steadfast and tried to guide me and ‘help me’ as much as you could.

(ironically, this similarity also makes me realize how I ‘helped’ 31 Precious, Lovely, INNOCENT Foster children when they needed someone to come-along beside them and offer a ‘supportive hand’ with genuine Caring and Gentleness.

We NEVER know what time will bring to us.  All we can do is “turn to and rely on the One True God.  “Let Go … And Let God!!”   My Favorite Jeremiah 29:11 Scripture brings me Comfort:                            “FOR I KNOW THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU – Declares The Lord … “PLANS TO PROSPER YOU NOT TO HARM YOU … “PLANS TO GIVE YOU A FUTURE AND A HOPE.”

(I have been doing my utmost to build a personal ‘ministry’ based on this Scripture.)

GOD’S Desire For Us Is To Become More And More Christ-like.   As we learn to ‘Trust God to Lead Us – We Never Know when we might be able to Positively Influence another.

“Cherish the days Ahead of You and keep “Thanking God for the things You DO Have!

“I Love You!”

GROWING IN CHRIST,

Jennifer K. Lewis

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MORAL OF STORY: 

Never, NEVER underestimate the ‘impact’ you are having on someone’s’ life.

It’s Never too late to say “THANK YOU!”  (you don’t know how your ‘choice(s)’ to help someone just may, in turn, BLESS You!!!)  remember the saying:  “What Goes Around – Comes Around”.

God IS Judging the ‘motive’ and ‘intent’ of your Heart in Everything you do and say!   EVERYTHING!!

Again, a person just never knows what this Earthly Life may bring, so living each day as it is our last – just keeps becoming more and more important.

Growing In Christ,

Jen